Contributors’ Notes

Margherita Bassi, from Sudbury, Massachusetts, is an English major with a Creative Writing Concentration who strongly dislikes double stuf Oreos and would prefer to live her life out on a beach surrounded by books and horses instead of what destiny has in store for her. She wrote her essay for a cultural analysis and research assignment in order to revisit her own experience with self-publishing as well as discover societal trends in regards to this sort of publication and see what statistics had to say about it. For more on self-publishing and young authors, visit her website:

Iulia (pronounced you-lia) Boboc, from Dumont, New Jersey, is a passionate student of the arts, traveler, and Starbucks barista. Her love for everything romantic-era based—from Brahms to Rousseau to Keats—led her to take the core pilot class Love, Gender, and Marriage. The final assignment, a research paper, allowed her to explore her interest in human romantic relationships.

Maddie Coleman, from Milwaukee, WI, is a Biology major on the Pre-Med track. Her favorite first-year class was Molecules and Cells. She is a member of the Club Tennis team and 4Boston, both of which have been great ways to get to know people while fulfilling her passions.

About the assignment Maddie says: This assignment was an interpretive argument about a striking detail or pattern in relation to identity in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. Starting the assignment was a bit of a challenge, but I was able to use my instructor’s reviews to better assert my argument of the family home’s prominence in the development of the protagonist’s identity in the book.

Vincent Ferrucci, from Fishers, Indiana, is a CSOM student concentrating in Finance and minoring in Catholic Studies. Vincent’s favorite first-year class was Portico, and he is an avid Boston sports fan. After being challenged to learn more about a group he was unfamiliar with, Vincent wrote this profile in hopes that it would help others learn more about the Muslim population at Boston College.

Fidelia Ge, from New York, New York, is an English major who aspires to be a social worker, hockey analyst, photojournalist, art museum curator, pilot, and professional skateboarder all at once.

About the assignment Fidelia says: This was a narrative piece for the core pilot class Love, Gender, Marriage, which, for one assignment, asked what our interpretation of modern love was. The New York Times actually runs a weekly/monthly section of reader-submitted stories of what they think modern love is and our assignment was written with that audience in mind. In writing personal pieces, my biggest challenge is always worrying about the bigger message I’m trying to impart (if there even is one) but my professor and peers told me to just tell my truth as I know it and sometimes, it’s really as simple as that. My favorite part has to be the opening two paragraphs. I’m big on hooking the reader in and can’t start writing unless I have my beginning figured out.

Jack Glynn, from Milton, MA, enjoys listening to music every now and then and he is very proud of having lived in Keyes North.

About the assignment Jack says: I wrote my piece in the Fall of 2016 as a personal essay to be submitted to Sara Ehrich, my First-Year Writing Seminar teacher. Essentially, the prompt told me to write a personal essay about a struggle that I have endured at some point in my life. Though my life hasn’t been without hardships, it initially seemed that I had not gone through any troubles worth writing about. Eventually, however, an idea came to me—an odd one, yes, but an idea nonetheless: I could write about my “interest” in patterns, couldn’t I? After drafting and presenting the opening paragraph of what would later become my piece to Ms. Ehrich, I decided (with her support) that I could, in fact, write about counting the steps of staircases and aligning my eating utensils and other things that do not typically come to mind when one thinks about adversity. Long story short, I ended up finishing my piece at the last minute, and, while I was tentatively confident in its worth, I didn’t expect Ms. Ehrich to appreciate it as much as she did.

Doreen Gong, from her beloved hometown of San Diego, California, is currently studying Finance with a minor in Film Studies, and enjoys playing piano, deciphering films, and going on hikes during her free time. Her favorite class was Love, Gender, and Marriage, where she was reminded and inspired by her aunt and uncle’s path to their marriage to write this essay exploring the evolution of long distance relationships.

Anabel Johnson, from Vail, Colorado, is a Theatre major who hopes to be a Management and Leadership minor in the Business School. She loves to read on rainy days or run on sunny ones, and is quite in love with Gasson Hall. She wrote her research paper on the etymology and differing understandings of the word “slut” because it is something all young people can connect with and hopefully learn something from.

Michael X. Kelley is a resident of Georgetown, MA studying in the Carroll School of Management. He is passionate about business, technology, politics and news, and choral singing, and while his career path is uncertain, his long-term goal is to be the President of the United States. His essay gives some perspective on the media and news reporting today.

About the assignment Michael says: The topic of this essay was to compare and contrast three nightly news broadcasts and address them in the context of the two articles by Edward Said and Muriah Burton Nelson. This assignment specifically focused on content comparison which brought ideas that may clash or juxtapose together, ultimately formulating a comparative commentary. This process of juxtaposing so many complex ideas was the greatest challenge in writing this essay, especially in trying to formulate a cohesive thesis that unites the many cited sources under one strong, persuasive argument. This essay went through several stages of revision that included restructuring its arguments and expanding the discussion of headlines, which incorporates observations from the news, personal analysis, and counterargument. Additionally, stronger transitions were included to link the individual points about bias in the media. My favorite passage is about the editorial nature of reporting and how there must be a greater emphasis placed on facts.

Seung Kim moved from Korea to Philadelphia when he was 10. He makes puns bilingually. After taking Literature Core, he decided to add an English major to his major in linguistics. His essay was a close-reading of Oscar Wao—he wrote about hegemonic masculinity because he wants to tear down the patriarchy.

Julia Nascimben, from Needham, MA, is a Biology major and avid Boston sports fan. During her junior year of high school, she traveled to the Dominican Republic with a group of orthopedic specialists—a trip that inspired her to write A Dash of Salt. The essay is a narrative of her experience there and its impacts on her personal life.

About the assignment Julia says: This essay was the final assignment of my Freshman Writing Seminar in Spring 2016. Professor Stephen Shane gave us a fairly open-ended prompt, and encouraged us to explore the use of multimedia. The first draft basically just told the story. I met with Professor Shane a couple of times during the revision process and he suggested that I include some backstory as well, which is why the final piece includes flashbacks from high school interwoven with scenes in the DR. As a final touch, I added a few photographs from the trip, concluding with a letter written by one of the patients (translated). I felt that this would help to create a better-rounded picture for readers.

I think that the biggest challenge in writing this essay was avoiding the cliché of a life-changing service trip. While at its most basic level it was “just another volunteer trip,” my experience had an impact that stretched far beyond personal satisfaction and reached inspiration, dedication, and motivation. Professor Shane encouraged me to let my own personality shine through the words written on paper. I played with italics and ellipses, and included actual quotations in both Spanish and English. By doing this, I hoped that readers would hear the most accurate version of my voice as possible, even if they had not met me. I was very satisfied with the final product, and was honored when I found out it was chosen for a Dever Award.

Jiawei Peng, nicknamed Piapia, is from Beijing, China. She loves reading, writing, and is thinking of declaring an English major. Jiawei’s essay—a response to an assignment that called for personal reflection on an object that relates to one’s homeland—won the English Language Learner Essay Award this year.

About the assignment Jiawei says: I decided to write about my Maoku during a stage of homesickness, which hit a month after my arrival in the U.S. As the initial excitement wore off, I began to notice an isolation, both physical and mental, from my mother culture. This essay is both a tribute to a past that I can only relive in words and a solution to my sorrowful nostalgia.

Hannah Petry, from Chicago, Illinois, is a Biology major interested in public health. Her favorite hobbies include running and swimming, and she plans to spend the summer lifeguarding by day and working as a hostess at her favorite restaurant by night.

About the assignment Hannah says: This assignment was a research paper on discrimination in the housing market. When writing this essay, one of the greatest challenges I faced was finding someone to interview. Fortunately, I had the pleasure of connecting with Richard Koenig, the Executive Director of the Housing Opportunities Development Corporation (HODC) in Chicago. My interview with Koenig helped strengthen my argument by adding an authoritative perspective on affordable housing.

Austin Pilgrim, from Old Lyme, CT, is currently a Finance and Math major. He wrote this essay in response to a prompt to explore the significance of storytelling and its effect on what the reader believes to be true.

About the assignment Pilgrim says: I used BC’s OWL to revise my essay. I enjoyed the first body paragraph, in which I cite Victor’s descriptions of the monster that create an image of a devilish monster, and the second body paragraph because most readers of Frankenstein take the side of Victor, not the monster. This second body gives the Creature a chance to be Victor’s victim.

John Reim, from St. Paul, MN, is a Finance major in CSOM. He loves to play hockey and soccer, and is a member of the Campus Activity Board. He wrote this essay about the difficulties that go along with the model minority of Asian Americans after reading Native Speaker by Chang-rae Lee. He focuses specifically on how Lee used the symbol of a dog pile to demonstrate the impossibility of ever truly assimilating into American culture.

About the assignment John says: This paper was very difficult for me. I initially wrote it about 3 different symbols, but after meeting with my professor, I realized that I had been too broad and decided to focus in depth on one recurring symbol. My favorite passage was the part that dealt with the political turmoil. This paper was written right after Trump was elected president, and some of the anti-immigrant sentiment was eerily familiar.

Emma Riemer is an Elementary Education and English major who has called eight places home in her time as a military kid. She is an avid reader who also enjoys running and trips to the beach. Her favorite first-year courses were Studies in Narrative and Family, School and Society. She is looking forward to her next few years at BC.

About the assignment Emma says: This essay was an analytic essay based on the portrayal of man’s relationship with the material world in the movie The Martian. At first, I focused on how the film develops a message about that relationship, but I was left with lingering questions about what the film’s true message was; on one hand, the film seemed to highlight an interconnected relationship between humans and materials, while on the other, it seemed to assert humanity’s dominance over the material world. While discussing my outline with Professor Wallace, I began to think more deeply about how the film presented such conflicting ideas. Professor Wallace encouraged me to explore this tension in the film, and my thoughts on that subject shaped the final portion of my essay. Before writing this essay, I had never written about a film before; it proved to be a challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed. My favorite part of writing the essay was re-watching the important scenes of the film with the purpose of figuring out how each detail—from dialogue to camera angles to score—came together to create a message.

Ella Voss, from Glenview, IL, is planning to major in Finance and Information Systems with a minor in Medical Humanities. She enjoys traveling, watching the Chicago Blackhawks, and binging Grey’s Anatomy. She was inspired by her love for the TV series to write a research paper about medical dramas.

Nicholas Wong, from Saratoga, CA, is a Chemistry major who enjoys his time on the debate team and binge watching Parks and Recreation. His essay hopes to engage in the important cultural discourse about gender inequality and the government’s role in citizen’s private lives.

About the assignment Nicholas says: My approach to the essay was to make it very clear and concise while not pretending to cover everything. I often write with a lot of fluff and therefore the ideas that I am presenting can be a bit murky or remain unsupported assumptions. The first revision that I made in the essay was geared toward adding more evidence to back up my argument about how the One Child Policy makes an outcome like human trafficking and forced abortions possible. Another revision was a nod toward Hillary Clinton and her presidential race as a possible recent example of gender inequality.

Please note: the work and brief bios of Reuben Allik, Jennifer Clark, Kate Lindenburg, Kyle Mak, Taylor Nardone and Lyana White is included in the “Classroom Writing” section.